Baltimore Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez with a tough first in loss
The Baltimore Orioles fell 11-4 to Atlanta as Ubaldo Jimenez had a rough six-run first inning.
Pitching has been the big point of emphasis thus far in the Baltimore Orioles’ camp, and there wasn’t much that we saw in the spring home opener to quell those concerns. Ubaldo Jimenez got the start, and didn’t make it out of the first inning. Jimenez’s line: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 0 K.
Now with that said, keep in mind that pitchers are all on pitch counts in these spring games, and even though he gave up six runs odds are that Jimenez wouldn’t have been lifted in that manner in a regular season game. Jimenez on his outing (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko of MASNsports):
"It doesn’t look pretty at all, but I think I feel good because my arm feels really good,” he said. “I was able to work on the things I wanted to. Even before the game. I wanted to throw my changeup and my curve, and I started to throw my split and slider for today and that’s what I did."
Atlanta jumped on Orioles’ pitching early, with Bourn inking an RBI-single following a leadoff triple. Former Oriole Kelly Johnson addeda two-RBI single, and suddenly it was 3-0. Atlanta’s Albies added a two-RBI single, and Smith an RBI-triple, Frieman added an RBI-single in the second. When the dust settled, it was 8-0 Atlanta in the middle of the first.
Call to the Pen
However the area in which there are no questions about this team of course is the offense. And that was very much on display this afternoon – both for Atlanta and the O’s. Newly signed Chris Davis led off the last of the second with a solo home run, and the Birds added a hit later in the inning when Hardy grounded into a double-play with the bases loaded. Before all was said and done, Jonathan
Schoop would add a two-run homer to cut the lead to 8-4.
Atlanta however wasn’t being denied on this day. Mallex Smith, who went 4-for-5 against the Birds today, sent a solo shot over the wall in the fifth. Two innings later Albies homered in the seventh and Odom added an RBI-double in the ninth, running the final to 11-4. All in all, Oriole pitching also walked ten hitters in this afternoon’s game, which was dominated by Atlanta from the beginning.
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The big story of the game of course will be Ubaldo Jimenez and his struggles. Let’s not kid around and say that it wasn’t that bad. He pitched a third of an inning and gave up six runs. However a couple of those hits were wind-aided, as are a lot of hits and home runs during the spring.
Furthermore, don’t forget that last year Jimenez started on spring training opening day against Toronto…and he turned in a similar effort. Once all was said and done, Jimenez had a decent spring. And he turned that into a great first half of the season. So the goal for him is to keep grinding and look to get better. Bottom line: was this a good start? No. Should Orioles fans be concerned? Not in the least.
Zach Britton pitched a scoreless inning this afternoon, which is a good sign for the Birds. He did walk a batter, however for Orioles fans it should go as a positive sign that he pitched well today. Todd Redmond was one of two relievers that Buck Showalter used this afternoon who didn’t walk a hitter. Incidentally, Redmond pitched yesterday as well – it appears that the Birds are intent on giving him a long look this spring.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: A year for anniversaries
The O’s, still in search of their first spring victory, will head to Port Charlotte, FL to take on the Tampa Rays tomorrow afternoon. Miguel Gonzalez will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Erasmo Ramirez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.